Ep. #6 The Gift… of Fear

Ep. #6 The Gift… of Fear

 
 
00:00 / 00:22:11
 
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Episode 6: ESSENTIAL READING ALERT!  “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin De Becker  is a masterclass in perception and intuition.  It changed the way I move around the world, and now, I am gifting it to you! 

Show Notes:

Quick Links:

Words That Move Me Amazon Shopping List: https://amzn.to/37BRUo6

Transcript:

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, master mover Dana Wilson, and if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artists story than sit tight but don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.  

Dana: Hi. Hi, and thank you for joining me today on episode six. I am so glad that you are here and I am stoked to talk to you. The subject today is whew, it’s rather serious and um pretty intense but also very valuable and I’m excited to get into it. But first I want to check in with you and wish you a happy February. February, February, February. Right? So for the next two weeks I will be working on not saying happy new year to everybody that I see. Great. For those of you that started listening with me back on January 1st episode one have you taken on the daily project? It’s really, really nice to see and connect with my daily doers out there. If you are working on daily making, then I would love to see it and support you. So be sure to tag me on Instagram at words that move me podcast. Actually, to quickly illustrate the power of seeing what all of you guys are making on Instagram. I do want to tell you a quick story. Um, I was editing a podcast a couple of nights ago in bed, which I try not to do just because it’s bad on the lower back, but my husband was asleep, all the lights were off. I’m just headphones on, kind of chipping away and I sensed something fall to my left, like off of my bedside table maybe. Or I have a hanging plant to the left of the bed. And I thought maybe a leaf had fallen off of that. I dunno, I sort of heard and sort of felt something fall. And then a few moments later I had kind of a tickle on my neck. So I, you know, reached up to my neck and I grabbed something that was the same size and weight as an almond, but it was softer and had more legs.  

So I kind of threw it down on the bed and then I scrambled and hit the light switch to my right and I looked down and it was some moth type creature with straight, you know, wings and legs. And it was moving pretty slow because I grabbed it. Um, so I reached for my phone cause I wanted to take a little boomerang of it, uh, to show my husband. And when I pulled my phone out and open Instagram to take this boomerang, I saw that I had notifications in words that move me. So I opened it up and I started scrolling through some of the daily doing posts and I left this bug on my bed half alive while I was scrolling through your posts. So all of that to say Instagram is a very powerful and very distracting tool, but also I really do care about the projects that you guys have going on out there. It’s really fun to watch. All right. 

This podcast is going to be probably the second best gift you ever receive. The first best gift of course, is the gift of fear. I mean your intuition. But I also mean the book, The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. Go ahead and consider it required reading. If you have read it already, I would love to hear your comments. Um, a great way to keep in touch with me is in the comments for this episode at words that move me podcast on Instagram or in the comments on my website, theDanawilson.com/podcast under episode six last week I talked about what I call creative fears. Those are non life threatening things. I also touched on judgment and failure and some of the unwanted feelings that come along with those fears. For example, we might be afraid of auditions because we avoid feeling rejected or we might be afraid of injury because we don’t want to feel disposable or replaceable or anything other than indestructible. We’re often afraid to put ourselves and our work out there because we dislike ridicule and embarrassment or we’re often afraid of not being the best. We want to feel like winners, not losers. By the way, we are all winners here. I just want to say that for the record. So that was the last week. Episode five, if you haven’t gotten a chance to listen, really encourage you. Jump on over to that episode, maybe after this one to give that a listen. But this week we’re talking about real fear and the real threats that cause fear. I’m also going to give names to the cues that warn us about danger. By the end of this episode, you’ll have the words to explain why you feel apprehensive in certain situations and hopefully the awareness to navigate yourself out of them. So without any further ado, let’s dig in. 

To avoid offending my neuroscientist friends out there. Yes, I do have neuroscientist friends. I’m not going to go into the complicated chemistry of our freeze, fight or flight response. Instead, I’m going to spend as long as it takes to convince you that you need to read the gift of fear by Gavin de Becker. My husband bought it for me, um, and a few of the other dancers I believe before I went on my second world tour. The lessons in this book are invaluable and applicable to anyone regardless of your sex or circumstance, but particularly pertinent to young ladies living in big cities or going on big tours with big stars. I say that because when you’re in places that you don’t know and surrounded by people that you don’t know and have access to celebrities, you become a target to all sorts of nonsense. The book starts with a gripping and really terrifying story of a 27 year old woman who was raped and almost murdered by a stranger in her own apartment. I’ve only ever heard of or read about or seen traumas like this in movies and TV shows, and occasionally the victim sometimes prefaces a retelling of that incident with it came out of nowhere or he seemed like a really nice guy or he didn’t look threatening or he didn’t seem harmful, but the author Gavin de Becker’s conversation with this woman reveals and explains how nothing really comes out of nowhere. There are teeny tiny red flags and warning signs. Indications or very subtle signals. Gavin de Becker calls them survival signals that tell us that something’s not quite right and I want to tell you about those survival signals. These are explanations for why we feel apprehensive in certain settings or about certain people. These are the actual words for that. “I don’t know. I just got a bad feeling” moment. 

The first one is pretty self explanatory. Gavin calls it discounting the word no.  That’s basically when a person doesn’t take no for an answer. People who don’t take no for an answer do not have your best interest in mind and they shouldn’t be trusted. Simple as that. The next survival signal that Gavin mentions is forced teaming. Gavin explains forced teaming as when a stranger uses the idea of we to establish trust or before there is any, for example, some stranger out in the world saying to you, “we really pick the right night to go out” or “man, we gotta get you back inside” Something to that effect sort of makes your skin crawl and he didn’t really know why. Well why is because there is no we there. That is not your friend. That is not your teammate and there is no we. Another one of Gavin’s survival signals is charm and niceness. He’s very deliberate and pointing out that charm is an ability, not a characteristic. One of my favorite quotes from Gavin is “Charm and niceness are not the same as being good. Niceness is a decision, a strategy of social interactions. It is not a character trait.” I think this is so true and so important and at the risk of sounding like really, really pessimistic. I like to remind all of my dancers and creatives out there working on big projects with high-profile artists. There are a lot of reasons for people to be nice to you and not all of them are because that person is good. 

The next survival signal that Gavin de Becker offers in his book is too many details. Gavin writes that when people are telling the truth, they don’t feel doubted, so they don’t feel the need for additional support from additional details, but when they lie, even if what they say sounds like it’s true or credible, it doesn’t sound credible and true to them. So they keep talking. Another one of Gavin’s survival signals is typecasting. In the industry, uou might’ve experienced typecasting as a preliminary round of cuts at an audition. It generally happens before there’s any dancing. It happens when the client knows what “type” they are looking for and to save time they excuse all of the people who aren’t. That type typecasting can be awful because it’s very superficial. It’s quite literally based on what you look like. We like to believe that our talent matters at least as much as our looks, but I actually quite like typecasting.  It saves time and it saves my energy. If I’m not it, thanks for letting me know before I sweat, before I bleed for the job and before I get a parking ticket. The gift of fear, however, explains typecasting as when somebody labels you in a critical way, hoping that you’ll behave in a way that proves them wrong. For example, “Oh, you too good for me. You’re not going to talk to me.” Or “Where are your manners? You’re so rude” somebody with bad intentions would say these things to try to get a response to try to get you to act in a favorable way towards them. A typecast is really just trying to get engagement from you and because most of us care about what people think of us and we want to be liked, this usually works. 

Another one of these survival signals is called loan sharking. It’s when somebody loans you something like money or time or an object or a favor, a service, but plans on collecting much, much more in return. For example, something as simple as a stranger asking if they can help you get your luggage to your room but they expect you to let them in and they happen to then also learn what room you’re staying and or somebody who offers to give you a ride to where you plan to eat that night. Expecting that you might invite them to stay for the meal. Even if it’s under the guise of being a gift or a friendly exchange. The intent can be to put you in their debt and that is not cool. Another survival signal is the unsolicited promise. Gavin explains the unsolicited promise as “nearly always indicative of a questionable motive.” These promises do nothing more than tell us that somebody really just trying to convince us of something, not that there’s a guarantee in their action and certainly not that their intentions are good or in your best interest. Furthermore, the only time somebody makes an unsolicited promise is when they sense that you aren’t convinced. I started really, really thinking about this one the last time I made an unsolicited promise, or at least the last time I can remember was to my husband. I really, really wanted him to come see the book of Mormon with me. He was clearly not into it. He doesn’t like musicals in general and he didn’t see why this one would be any different. So I promised him that he would like it for you know, reasons, but not because I knew that he actually would like it just because I didn’t want to go alone. I wanted to go see it with him. So I was very self motivated. Turns out he didn’t like it, he fell asleep. He just doesn’t like musicals. Maybe he never will and that’s okay. Now, that’s not a very severe example of an unsolicited promise, but think of the last time you made one and the next time somebody promises you something without you asking for it. Ask yourself, why did they just do that? Do you doubt them? Are there other survival signals at play? 

Let’s recap those other signals. We started off with discounting the word no. Then forced teaming, which is when somebody makes a “we” where there isn’t one. Then charm and niceness. Too many details. Typecasting, loansharking and of course the unsolicited promise. Gavin goes on to talk about dangerous relationships and domestic violence, stalkers and the efficiency of restraining orders and a lot of really, really fascinating and very important stuff. If you are not riveted and forever changed by this book, I will personally buy your copy off of you and gift it to someone else. That is how much I believe in this book. Now I want to recount a couple of stories from my own life, a few examples that helped me illustrate these survival signals inaction.  

Like most of us, I’m assuming my parents taught me to not talk or take candy from strangers. I sort of assumed the part about the unmarked vans that’s just kind of a no-go in general. But I was also taught to “be nice” I grew up being nice in a nice neighborhood and I didn’t have much cause to be afraid ever. Not that red hot type of fear that rings the fight or flight alarm. Anyways. So by the time I moved to LA at 18 years old, I was a professional at being nice. I was really, really good at seeing the good in people and telling myself that everything will be okay. The year was 2005 and the corner of sixth and spring street, downtown LA was certainly not what it is today. That’s where I lived when I first moved to LA. I was catcalled often and harassed for money frequently. Uh, once a man even exposed himself in front of me.  

Woah. Anyways, every time something like that would happen in my brain through its little warning signal, I would promptly ignore it. I’d tell myself, this is perfectly normal. That kind man simply drink too much and doesn’t have a home and he just needs to relieve himself on my apartment building right here in front of me. I should pretend to be on my phone so that I don’t interrupt him. I remember another instance very, very clearly as I walked from my car to my building, a rough looking man followed me so closely and for so long that I could tell it was vodka, not whiskey or gin that was making him swerve from my left to my right. The scary part of this story is not that something terrible happened to me. I actually made it into my building safely. The scary part is that I kept my pace because I didn’t want him to think that suspected him of following me. I didn’t want to offend him by running away. I prioritized his feelings above my instinct to protect my own safety. That’s scary. I also recall one incident on tour. Some of the band and the dancers were having a drink at the hotel bar. Not in a particularly dangerous part of town, pretty high class establishment, but a stranger began buying drinks for one of us ladies and it didn’t take him long to zero in on one of us in particular, who was responding really positively to his very unsolicited gestures of “kindness.” He was buying drink after drink even after she said no. Then eventually he put his scarf around her. He said, Ooh, that looks good on you. She smiled and giggled and thanked him and he told her she could keep it. She declined. He insisted. She accepted and said, thank you. Then he offered her yet another drink and she said, no. He said, come on, don’t be rude. I gave you my scarf. You look beautiful. Just one more. She sweetly tried to explain that she meant no offense and was just trying to have a good time with her friends once again and this time not so kindly. He insisted on buying her another drink. I’d seen enough of this dude and I didn’t want to hear what he would insist on next. The gift of fear helped me identify that this man was undeniably up to no good. He ignored the word no. He used unsolicited gifts and charm and niceness to put her in his debt. He definitely loan sharks her. These were just a few of the survival signals that Gavin de Becker described in his book and before reading about any of them, I would’ve felt a little bit uneasy about asking this guy to leave us alone, but on that night I wasn’t. I was certain that this guy was up to no good and I felt fully backed up in asking him to leave us alone. It shouldn’t surprise you that when I asked him to leave us alone, he didn’t. He’s probably been rewarded by this type of persistence in the past. It wasn’t until some of our male counterparts insisted that this man leave that he eventually disappeared. I’m very fortunate to have never experienced a truly traumatic event on the road. Part of that may be simply circumstance. Part of it might be that I’m retraining myself from being nice all the time to being safe.  

These are my final thoughts on fear. Real fear. First, it’s cool to listen to your instincts. Your life is way more important than other people’s feelings and the word no does not make you rude. Also, not everyone has good intentions. Your good manners might be keeping you from listening to your good instincts and please don’t pretend to be on your cell phone when you’re in potentially dangerous situations. It’s just way better to listen to your instincts than a piece of glass. All right guys. I think that just about does it for fear, at least for now. A huge thank you

Gavin de Becker for writing this book that has opened my eyes and all of my other senses to my surroundings and the subtle signals that are happening all the time. I really hope you all read the book. It’ll be linked in the show notes on my website, theDanawilson.com/podcast under episode six as well as on the words that move me Amazon shopping list, which is also linked on my website. All right, everybody get out there and keep it funky, but also keep it safe and keep it very smart. Keep it safe, keep it smart and keep it funky. Okay, I will talk to you next week. Bye bye.

Ep. #5 Is Fear Keeping You Alive, or Eating You Alive?

Ep. #5 Is Fear Keeping You Alive, or Eating You Alive?

 
 
00:00 / 00:31:04
 
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Episode #5 is here and it’s frighteningly good. This episode digs into #FEAR; The kind that keeps you alive and the other kind that keeps you from LIVING!  Give a listen and cut the ties to fear that are holding you back.

Show Notes:

Quick Links and Further Readings

The Power Of Vulnerability – Brené Brown

The Call to Courage – Brené Brown

Daring Grately – Brené Brown

Failing Your Way to Success

How To Be A Successful Failure

Gift of Fear – Gavin de Becker

Brooke Castillo’s Thought Model

The Farwell – Akwafina Movie

Episode Transcript

Intro: This is words that move me, the podcast where movers and shakers like you get the information and inspiration you need to navigate your creative career with clarity and confidence. I am your host, master mover, Dana Wilson, and if you’re someone that loves to learn, laugh and is looking to rewrite the starving artists story, then sit tight. But don’t stop moving because you’re in the right place.

DANA:   00:33    Hello and hello. Welcome back to the podcast. This is episode five. Can you believe it? Episode five already. I’m stoked. Thank you so much for joining me. Thank you for tagging me for communicating with me on the socials. Um, a lot of real creative types popping up there. So hip, hip, hooray for all my daily doers. Um, if you are not daily making jump back and listen to episode one, very inspiring, exciting stuff back there. I am daily doing in some way, shape or form working on this podcast. Whoa, podcasts are way more work than I thought, but I’m learning so much about myself. The things that I know, the things that I don’t know, the way that I speak. I’m also learning about, for example, right now how to transcribe my episodes and leave you guys all the awesome show notes so that will now be available to you on all previous episodes as well as this one. If you are listening via Apple podcasts, you click the three little dots in the top right corner, you’ll be able to access shownotes from there. If you are not listening on Apple podcasts, go directly to my website, Thedanawilson.Com/Podcasts and you’ll have all my show notes available there.   

Cool, so if you are digging the podcast, I would love if you would re, ha, reeve a leview you love if you would reeve a leview, or leave a review, whichever suits your fancy. The more reviewed a podcast is, the easier it is to find and I really would love for all our creative types to be able to find these episodes easily. Sharing is caring. Oh, speaking of caring, quick shout out to my mom for calling me up and calling me out on a made up word that I used last week in episode four. She said de-motivated is not a word. Also super shout out to Google for letting me know that I did not make up a word. It turns out de-motivated is a word. Um, unmotivated means that one being lacks motivation. De motivated means that motivation has been taken. Right. That distinction. Very impressive. Also, I had no idea of the difference of those two. I think I really meant unmotivated. De-motivated came out. Google backed me up. Thanks anyways, mom, really appreciate you having my, uh, best interest in mind and really looking out for my grammar. Hmm. Um, let’s see. In this past week I worked on another music video. I taught a great class at movement. Lifestyle. Had so much fun. If you are listening to this on the day of its release, which is Wednesday, I’ll be teaching again this Friday, which is January… Wait for it. Wait for it. 31st, last day of the month. Oh my gosh.  It’s going really fast. Is it just me or is that everyone? Gosh, man. Um, so this past week in my class, we channeled what it means to be attractive. Um, which reminded me of last week’s episode talking about our dancing birds and mating dances and all sorts of fun stuff, but it was really, really challenging to have like Heidi Klum in the mind, but a Muppet or a Fraggle in the body. So much fun. Um, I don’t know if we’ll do that again this week, but I do know that we will have fun again this week. So if you’re in LA, stop by movement lifestyle, I will be teaching at 1130. Killer. Um, let me think. Any other updates? Oh, big one. The nails are off. I got acrylic nails for a job. I don’t remember what episode I talked about this and, but I got my acrylic nails removed. The first thing I did was take out my contacts because I couldn’t do that cause they were too long and Oh my gosh, that felt so good. For all my optometrists out there, please don’t worry, I do have the contacts that are the type that you’re supposedly allowed to sleep in. But Whoa, I had slept in my context for many, many nights. Eyes feel great. Fingers feel great. I feel great in general, crushing it at 2020 again this week. 

Today, However, I want to talk about a specific thing that might be keeping you from crushing it in 2020 and that is fear. Yes, good old fashioned fear. Insert the dramatic Halloween scream right there, which turns out, actually this is an aside, I found out recently that the director of photography from In the Heights, the film that I worked on over the summer last year, Alice Brooks is her name is the scream from scream.  

That’s Alice’s scream. That’s the scream that I want to put in my podcast right now, when I say this episode’s about fear. So now, you know. 

Moving on a couple of weeks ago, I put out a survey on Instagram. Thank you so much for responding by the way, those of you that, that hollered back. Um, I asked what scares you, what are you afraid of? And it was very cool to take a look at my responses. I’ve basically sorted this out. I’ve determined that there are two types of fear, the kind of fear that keeps you alive and the kind of fear that eats you alive. The first one being of course the animal instinct that gives you the freeze, fight or flight response. And then the other one is literally everything else. So let’s talk very quickly about the fear that keeps you alive. Our animal instinct fear has really served us well.  It’s helped us get to the point where most of us are not afraid for our lives on a daily basis. 

Do you remember the game, the Oregon trail, by the way, speaking of fear for your life, it was a computer game that taught us about the early settlers and all of the ways that you can die in the 18 hundreds for example, your wagon might break an axle and you might have to walk yourself to death or you might get dysentery or cholera. Now that is some really scary stuff. Even before that time though, you might’ve been afraid of being trampled in a stampede or you might’ve been afraid that your child might be eaten by a saber tooth tiger. That stuff right there. That is real fear. Now, there’s still a lot of real danger in the modern world. It’s just that our stimuli have changed. We don’t have saber tooth tigers or wagons anymore, which is kind of a shame cause wagons are darn cute. So next week I’m going to talk about one of my favorite books called the gift of fear. And we’ll talk about reading subtle signals in our modern everyday life that could really save your tail. That was an animal instinct pun. Um, especially if you live in Hollywood or if you’re a person that tours frequently

But for today we’re going to discuss in depth the kind of fears that eat you alive or what I referred to in episode 0.5 with my friend Nick Drago as creative fears. So these are the fears that are not really life threatening, but I was shocked that when I put my survey out to Instagram, like 99% of the replies I got were these type of fears. So that’s what we’re going to dig into today. Buckle up, let’s go.  

 8:39 Okay, thanks again for submitting your responses about things that you are afraid of. Please don’t be afraid right now. I’m not going to call anybody out by name. I’m going to actually kind of group some fears together based on a few trends that I noticed. So two things in particular. Almost every response fell under one or both of these two umbrellas. Those two umbrellas are judgment and failure. So I’m thinking if we can tackle these two little guys, we can step into some real big power. Now, last week I introduced Brooke Castillo’s thought model and I’m going to really quickly review on that. But if you haven’t listened to episode four, I really encourage you to do that. The model starts with a circumstance which is a neutral fact about your life. It is provable. It is uncontestable incontestable? Which one is it? Mom, call me.  Circumstances trigger your thoughts. Thoughts are just sentences in your head, which you actually can control. Thanks to your prefrontal cortex. More science words. Thoughts cause your feelings, which are sensations in your body. And those feelings lead to actions, which are what you do or don’t do with your body. And your actions create results, which are always proof of your initial thought. So it’s really important that we choose our thoughts wisely. Okay, so on the subject of fear, I’m not encouraging you to simply not think the thoughts that frighten you. Actually quite the opposite. I’m suggesting that you understand the thoughts that frighten you. I’m suggesting that you get to the core of them. I’m betting that at the core of these fears, you’re probably wrestling with your thoughts about judgment and or failure. And I’m telling you right now that the tiny seed inside the core of the big, big fear is just a feeling, probably an unwanted feeling.  So you see, fear is actually the avoidance of unwanted feelings. It’s your body and your mind’s way of keeping you from experiencing unwanted stuff. But thoughts create your feelings and we get to choose our thoughts. So what if we choose thoughts that lead us in the direction of wanted feelings? One of my favorite ways to illustrate this. There’s a little exercise in metacognition or thinking about thinking, if you’re funky.

 I’d like you to invite an imaginary friend to sit down beside you, preferably a very curious friend, somebody who’s very compassionate, but asks questions that have five-year-old would ask. Maybe this imaginary friend is a five-year-old. They ask a lot of questions like, why? And so what if or what does that even mean? So this imaginary young person is going to ask me tons of questions about my thoughts, and I’m going to rattle off answers as if I know everything.  And once a feeling shows up in the answer, then I’ll know that we’ve gotten to the root of the issue. Let’s start with a a fear of being injured. So if I have a child sitting next to me and I say, “Man, little one, little nugget I am, I’m afraid of being injured.” And that child might say, “why?” And I might say, “because then I won’t be able to do the thing that I love.” And they might say, “why?” And I’ll say, “because I’ll be in pain, if not physically then mentally for sure.” And they might say, “why?” And I might say, “because dance is a part of who I am without it, who am I?” And they might say, “I dunno who are you?” And then I might say, “well, I am an almighty dancer and I can do a unnatural things and I can do anything. And I am indestructable, except for when I’m injured, when I’m injured, I feel mortal and I prefer to feel indestructable.” Okay, ding, ding, ding. There were the feelings that just showed up. When I’m injured, I feel mortal, but I prefer to feel indestructable. So there’s my key feelings there. I’m actually afraid of being injured because I prefer to feel indestructable. Well what if you could be injured and still feel indestructable?  Would you then have the same fear of becoming injured? 

Okay, let’s take a look at a different fear. “I’m afraid my work will be bad.” The child might say to that “why?” And I might say, “because that might mean that I don’t know what I’m doing.” and then that child might say, “when I don’t know something and I ask about it, my teacher calls it learning. Or sometimes when I’m playing, I don’t really know what I’m doing and that can be really, really fun. So what’s wrong with not knowing what you’re doing?”  I might say to that, “well, I really like to play too, but I don’t like feeling unskilled. “ Aha. Here’s my feeling. I’m afraid my work will be bad because I don’t like to feel not good at something. Well, how do you feel about yourself after you’ve learned something really difficult or how do you feel about yourself while you’re playing? Is it possible that you might not be afraid of making bad work if you thought of your work as play, if you thought of it as learning. 

All right, how about this one? “I’m afraid people won’t understand me or won’t get the work. I’m afraid they’ll think I’m bad or stupid.” Kid might say “why?” And I say, if feeling very honest “because I want people to like me. I want people to relate to my work. I want them to think I’m great” and that kid might say, “so what if they don’t?” And then I would probably get real real with myself and I would say, “well then I would feel unwanted. I would feel uncool and I prefer to feel cool. I want to feel appreciated.” Okay, great. So it’s not that I’m afraid of people not understanding me, it’s that I want to avoid feeling unappreciated. Well, what if you felt cool and wanted and appreciated no matter what other people thought of your work? Would the fear still be there? I’m thinking, no.

Okay, here’s one more. What if I told the kid the very, very smart kid, by the way, “’i’m afraid of going to auditions.” Kid might say, “why?” And I’d say, “well, I don’t completely love putting my all on the line in front of hundreds of judgy eyeballs, including a couple pairs of eyeballs that ultimately decide if I will fail or succeed in getting this job or not.” And then the kid might say with all of his wisdom and experience, “isn’t that what being a dancer is putting your all on display for a bunch of eyeballs to look at?”  That smart little sucker. Got me. All right. I’d probably say fine. “Smart little sucker. You got me  I guess it’s not the audition that I’m afraid of. It’s getting cut.” The kid might say “with a knife?!” and I’d be like, “no, we use the word cut as another word for being dismissed or rejected and I guess it feels pretty crappy to be rejected.” Ding, ding, ding. We have a feeling there. Feeling rejected. Well, what if you could go to an audition and not feel rejected no matter what? What if instead of feeling rejected, you felt genuinely sorry for those poor sons of guns that don’t get to work with you? Like what if? What if getting cut actually felt like a surprise birthday party for you? Like what if everyone in the room erupted in applause and there was confetti and streamers and cake every time you got cut, would you still be afraid of going to auditions? Mm. Probably not. I would go all the time.  

Now if you’re like me, you might be getting a little suspicious right around now. Like all of this power of positive thinking stuff. Is there really any grit to it? Like is it real? I remember specifically when that book, the secret became very popular. I had some big questions about that. Like does taping a dollar bill to my ceiling and looking at it in the morning and at night before I go to bed really turn me into a millionaire. 

Now, I could be wrong here, but I highly, highly doubt that this work is a bit different. It’s more systematic and it requires action, some effort and a lot of consciousness. So let’s do that work. Let’s put in a little effort and let’s get real thoughtful about judgment and failure.  

Okay. What is judgment? The internet says and the internet knows that judgment is the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions. Well, that doesn’t sound so bad actually. I kind of loved the idea of being a person that can make considered decisions or sensible conclusions. I wish we could just leave it at that. But the internet also offers an alternative definition and that is misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment. Huge, huge range there. How did we go from sensible conclusions to divine punishment? I don’t know exactly, but considering that judgment is part of what’s kept us humans around for so long, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, thankfully. I’m going to opt to think of judgment as the first definition. I’m already hard enough on myself as it is I don’t need to think of everyone else in the world is passing divine punishment on me. Gosh, that’s terrifying. All right, so that’s the what of judgment. Now let’s talk about the who. Who gets to pass judgment? Well, one of two people. You or someone else. So let’s talk about judgment from others. At least in dance, I’ll speak specifically for dance. There is no bar exam, there’s no MCAT. There is no one institution that says, all right, you’re good, you’re a dancer, you pass, go on, go dance, go make money doing dance. And I actually think that’s a great thing. I have no student loans because of that thing, and that means that everyone gets to dance even if they can’t afford to go to dance school or take dance test. But here’s where that gets a little bit tricky. In the absence of an almighty dance deity, that gets to click a price tag on us and deem us valuable. It can sometimes feel easier for our minds to give power to literally anyone else instead of keeping it for ourselves.  In other words, instead of saying, I’m great and I know that I’m just getting better, we say, ah, I don’t know if I’m any good. What do you think world? See, I think that seeking validation is not so uncommon. It’s human and I think it’s a result of how we were all raised, but what’s unique to dancers and people making art, especially in entertainment, is that we and our work stand at the epicenter of our pop culture’s screen addiction and fascination with view counts and clicks and engagement. It can be really challenging to separate popular opinion from your opinion. And that can be dangerous because then you have a bunch of people who don’t deeply understand the work determining its value. Yikes. So does having a lot of likes mean that something is good? No. Does having very few likes mean that something is bad? No. So what does make something good or bad? Your thoughts about it. That’s what. And that brings us to your self judgment, which can be a tough one. So I’m going to call on the old thought model.  

If the circumstance is my work and the thought is people will think my work is bad or stupid or somebody’s work will definitely be better. Then the feeling that that thought creates is disempowered. Checking in mom, is that a word? The action that comes as a result of feeling disempowered is actually inaction. You don’t make work. So the result is no work, which proves the original thought is correct. Somebody else’s work is better than your work on a technicality because your work doesn’t exist. So here’s the new model with a little bit of flexing of my prefrontal cortex muscles. I know your brain is not a muscle. I just, it’s an analogy. All right, so the circumstance is still my work, but what if my thought about my work is that I am a person with the tools and determination to make the work that I love. That thought makes me feel empowered, that thought makes me feel motivated and feeling motivated, sends me into action. That action is making work. A lot of it and probably failing a bit along the way. And the result then is that I will have work that I love and I’ll have stronger tools and determination to make even more of it. See, the result is proof of that first thought.  

Now here’s something I didn’t touch on much in the last episode and that is that your results are really just yours. In other words, you won’t have a result like everyone loves my work because you can’t control other people’s thoughts, which I think is a great thing by the way. All right, let’s touch on failure now. What is failure? Well, again, I turned to the internet and the internet says failure is the lack of success. Now to avoid going down an endless pit of defining, defining words, I’m going to skip success, which we’ll talk about in another podcast and I’m going to jump straight to the second definition, of failure, which I really, really like by the way. The internet says that failure is the omission of expected or required action. See, it’s all, it’s not this death, destruction, awful, the worst. It’s just the lack of, or the omission of expected or required action. To me, it’s just simply missing the mark. So some people are so afraid of missing the Mark that they never even shoot. For example, people who would love to become a dancer someday, but they don’t take class because they’re afraid they won’t be good. You know, they’ll miss the mark of greatness so they don’t go. Some people are afraid of missing so big that they set the mark real low, like you know, keeping it real safe, freestyling at a nightclub or lounge or party, but never entering a freestyle battle.  

Did you hear that? That was me raising my hand. Oh, failure.  There is one other way that a lot of us choose to avoid failure. That’s kind of special and that is self sabotage. I say that it’s special because this is a type of avoiding unwanted feelings that actually feels really good, at least in the moment. And then it sneaks up and gets you. Here’s some examples, my personal favorite procrastination, putting things off for later so that you can feel good now. My mom has a famous saying, shout out again mom, love you. Uh, she says, why do today, what you can do tomorrow and why do tomorrow what you can avoid doing all together. Man, mom, you are a professional procrastinator. Here’s another one, another form of self sabotage and that’s drinking or self-medicating and other ways that might seem really harmless or even helpful to an extent in that moment, but man, they can lead straight into the arms of some really undesirable results. Another one might be lying or faking sick, or here’s one that you might not expect. Overworking is total self sabotage the whole time you’re thinking, look at me crush this. I am crushing it. I can totally work until 4:00 AM every night and then wake up at six and then go to the gym and, and and, and, and until you exhaust yourself to the point of injury or inefficiency. Self-sabotage is a sticky one and it deserves a podcast all to itself. So let’s jump back to failure. 

There is a metric ton of research and a boatload of really great talks about failure and specifically failure and its relationship to success. I’ll link to a few of my favorites on my website under the show notes for episode five. Just go to theDanawilson.com/podcasts and click on episode five to get all that good stuff. But for now I want to just point out a couple of my favorite thoughts about failure. Here’s a real popular one. The idea that the more you fail, the more you will succeed. I really love that and I like to think about if there were a number, like what if you knew that exactly 25 fails equals one win. Like a really big win. I bet you’d be down to fail 25 times. If you knew that right after that you would get your big win. Well, I also think that it’d probably take way less than 25 fails to get a win. So just jump in and find out. Another one of my favorites is this, and it’s a quote, and I don’t know who to credit for this quote. ***(post edit) this quote is by Fritz Perls, MD, the psychiatrist and founder of Gestalt Therapy.** So if you do, please let me know. The saying is, “The only difference between fear and excitement, is breath.” Consider that people actually pay money to see scary movies and go to haunted houses and go on roller coasters.  

In a way, fear has been rebranded in our minds as fun. So take a deep breath, put both arms up and scream your whole way to that audition. You’re going to have a ball at some point in there for even just the second. You’re going to have fun, I promise. Oh, here’s another quote and I do know who wrote this one. It’s from the movie the Farewell which is written and directed by Lulu Wong starring Akwafina. And it is one of my favorite movies of 2019 please, please see it. Akwafina’s character’s, mom, whose name I’m blanking on at this particular moment, says, “Chinese people have a saying. When people get cancer, they die. It’s not the cancer that kills them. It’s the fear.” Please go see the farewell so that you understand this powerful context, and also, please don’t let your fears eat you alive. Watch over them with the curiosity and compassion of a young child. Get to the root of them and rewrite them and keep it funky. hahahaha, How come I can’t say that without laughing. Oh, it feels good to laugh. That was a serious one. Whoa, boy. All right, everybody. If you’re digging, what you’re hearing, please leave a review. Send me a message on Instagram or a comment on the website, theDanawilson.com/podcasts and I will talk to you next week. Bye.